Explanation of the Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services

You may casually talk about the housing market with a REALTOR®, but if the conversation shifts to your personal information like your motivation, financial situation or advice on market pricing, etc. you are entering into a legal agency relationship with that agent. The BC government has mandated that the REALTOR® ask you to sign a form called “Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services” (DORTS) before they can continue. Sometimes this may seem a little sudden, but it’s perfectly normal as the REALTOR® is following the rules of the BC government to provide you informed consent as you create an agency relationship with a REALTOR®

Having professional representation is important when you’re looking to buy or sell a home. Realtors are required to inform you, up front, about your representation options. This is what the Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services (DORTS) is for. Century 21 Horizon West Realty has implemented a video fully explaining the Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services Form to consumers:

When do you need to sign a DORTS?

Realtors can share factual information about the properties they list for sale. They can also give factual information about the real estate market at large. You would need to sign a DORTS if you wanted to ask them for advice or wanted to discuss personal information, like your financial situation, why’d you’d like to buy or sell, or any other information that could affect a real estate negotiation. Realtors are only able to discuss this information with someone they represent, or with someone who understands they’re not being represented and what that entails.

What does a DORTS do?

This document explains what your options are when it comes to representation and ensures you acknowledge that you understand these options. It outlines the advantages of working with a real estate professional and what their legal obligations are to you if they provide you client (agency) representation. It also details the pitfalls you can encounter if you decide to be unrepresented (no agency) in a real estate transaction. You should read through the form carefully, and speak with the Realtor, to fully understand the types representation available to you.

If you choose to continue unrepresented, a Realtor will ask you to sign a form called the Disclosure of Risks to Unrepresented Parties. This form outlines that you understand you’re unrepresented and what that entails. Ultimately, if you’re unsure about the situation, just ask. Remember, Realtors are professionals that deal with these issues every day – we're here to help!

What’s “agency”?

When you decide you want representation, you’ll form an “agency” relationship with your Realtor. This means your Realtor is legally duty-bound to protect your interests. For example, an agent has fiduciary duties of loyalty, confidentiality, and disclosure to a client. Once you establish agency, your Realtor becomes your agent and a professional advisor. They can:

  • Help you adopt a sound negotiation strategy based on industry knowledge and experience and can negotiate on your behalf.
  • Help you market your home and/or buy a home and become a link with other Realtors to locate homes that meet your needs.
  • Handle the different contracts and paperwork involved in a transaction.
  • Recommend other professionals, such as certified home inspectors, lawyers or notaries, insurance agents, home movers, or contractors.
  • Help you analyze the market to find the right home at the right price – or help you get the most from your sale.

Still looking for more information? Talk with your Realtor or check out the Real Estate Council of BC’s website at www.recbc.ca.